ST. PETERSBURG -- The bad injury news continued for the Rays on Wednesday, as reliever Jalen Beeks was placed on the 45-day injured list with a left elbow sprain, becoming the fifth Rays pitcher who has been lost for the season.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “There’s no denying that. No explanation either. It’s unfortunate. They’re all coming here in bunches, it seems like."
After throwing a pitch to Orioles outfielder Ryan Mountcastle in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 4-2 win, Beeks immediately signaled to the Rays’ dugout that he felt some discomfort. He shook his left arm and was taken out of the game after a quick chat on the mound. Beeks was examined by doctors on Wednesday, which is when the MRI revealed the sprain in the elbow.
Beeks was enjoying the best season start of his career, and he had become an integral part of Tampa Bay’s bullpen. The Rays had been leaning on Beeks in a multi-inning role and the lefty had even gotten save opportunities due to their plethora of injuries.
The left-hander’s expected ERA is in the 94th percentile in the Majors, and he has seen his strikeout percentage go from 19.2% last season to 33.3% in 2020. Beeks now becomes the 10th Rays pitcher who is currently on the injured list, joining Charlie Morton, José Alvarado, Colin Poche, Andrew Kittredge, Chaz Roe, Nick Anderson, Oliver Drake, Yonny Chirinos and Brendan McKay.
Poche, McKay, Kittredge, Chirinos and Beeks are the five pitchers who are out for the remainder of the season.
“It has certainly been challenging,” said Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder. “It feels like a lot of it is coming in bunches a little bit. It’s always tough. Having said that, we have to keep our head space positive and continue to check in with these guys, some of which are confident will return at some point in September.”
“I think with all these injuries, I don’t think there’s one guy that can come up and us be like ‘Oh, OK, you’re going to fulfill this role,’” Cash said. “It’s going to be a continued group effort among the entire pitching staff and with the coaching staff as far as trying to make the right decisions.”
With the Trade Deadline on Monday, the Rays will continue to be aggressive in trying to land pitching depth. Tampa Bay, however, will likely not trade prospects on the 60-man player pool to acquire a rental. If the team makes a move, it’ll likely be for a pitcher who is under team control for a pair of seasons.